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What is a Grocery Clerk?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A grocery clerk is a person who works in a small grocery store or large supermarket. Typically, education beyond a high school diploma is not necessary, and many clerks do not yet have a high school diploma, as it is a popular job for teenagers who are still in school. This person may have a few different duties on a day-to-day basis, but it is usually a fairly straightforward job.

Typically, a person who works as a clerk in a grocery store will need to run a cash register and help customers check out with their groceries. He or she will scan the groceries, make sure all of the prices are correct, and carefully put the purchases in bags. The clerk will then ask customers for any coupons or club cards so they can save money on their purchases. Once the order has been entered into the register correctly, the clerk will need to let customers know the total.

The grocery clerk will then accept payment and give correct change. This is the most important part of the clerk's job: to provide good customer service and to correctly maintain a cash drawer. In addition to working with customers at the register, a clerk at a grocery store may also need to answer questions customers may have, or to assist them with returning merchandise or price adjustments. This is more often the job of a customer service clerk, which is usually a type of promotion within the grocery store.

Maintaining the grocery store may also be the responsibility of a clerk, who is sometimes also called a stock clerk. This person is responsible for stocking food on shelves, removing expired products, and making sure that the shelves all look neat and presentable. He or she may also need to sweep and mop the floors at the end of the day and keep the aisles clean. Some clerks are responsible for setting up product displays of new products or ones that are on sale.

Someone who does a good job as a grocery clerk, who always comes to work on time, looks neat and presentable, and provides good customer service, is more likely to be promoted into a customer service or supervisory position. The hours when working in a grocery store are usually not very regular, but this can be beneficial for students. For someone who is interested in pursuing a career in business, working at a grocery store while still in school can be valuable experience.

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Discussion Comments

By anon331235 — On Apr 22, 2013

The store where I work at is a small one. My official role is "cashier," however, I also run the deli, stock, face, shovel snow, sweep the street, carry bags, run the cash register and answer phones.

This is all at the same time. One minute I could be a cashier, the next a meat slicer, and the next, a stocker.

It is a seriously underrated job. It does get tiring. Especially when you have to bend down to move the counter. By the end of the day, my back hurts and my heels burn.

However, you also have to take into consideration the people you deal with. About 50 percent of the job is human relations. It can be trying at times.

Even through all this, I get minimum wage, currently $10.25 per hour. However, I am on a "probationary period" as I am only two months into the job. Of course, if after the summer I am still making chump change, I will be looking for a higher paying job.

But my point is this is a physical and mental job. And if you like making people happy, it is a good job. It's trying at times, but dealing with people is nice. It really is an underrated job.

By Saraq90 — On Sep 24, 2011

A grocery store clerk has to be very comfortable being around and helping others. Besides the items sold at the store, people are what they deal with most.

I am happy to report that I can not remember any impolite clerks, since I have been grocery shopping on my own, for the past five years.

I am astonished at how some customers treat the grocery clerks and other public employees. Some people really think they are entitled to treat people any way they want to, no matter how horrible and uncalled for, and just down-right mean they can be.

I can not believe how upset and rude some customers can get, when most of the time it seems that the grocery clerk is just doing their job and being as nice and respectful as possible.

For instance, when buying alcohol some people act so offended when the cashier asks for a form of identification. Is it really that difficult to go into your wallet and get your identification? Would they rather just let them sell alcohol to anyone at any age and then risk the chance of more accidents, more corrupt, and more dead minors/individuals?

By OeKc05 — On Sep 24, 2011

My job as a grocery clerk involved just the produce section of a big supermarket. Fruit and vegetables can go bad overnight, so I had to monitor them closely.

I even inspected packages of organic lettuce and spinach for signs of wilting or turning black. I had been instructed by my boss to get rid of these right away.

I was supposed to leave freckled bananas out until they started to turn black, but I also was told to put out a supply of green bananas for people who prefer to buy them ahead of time and let them ripen.

I loved my job, because I always hated going into grocery stores and seeing spoiled or moldy produce. I got to be the one in charge of preventing that, so I shopped at the store where I worked, because I knew I could always get fresh fruits and veggies there.

By cloudel — On Sep 23, 2011

I worked as a grocery clerk during all four years of college. I was able to work a five-hour shift four days a week and still have time for homework.

I was responsible for stocking the shelves and reorganizing any items that customers may have placed in areas they did not belong. I was always amazed at how many times people changed their minds and set something off to the side before reaching the checkout counter.

I had to memorize the layout of the store. Often, customers would see me working and ask me where they could find a certain item, and I had to be ready with the answer.

By tigers88 — On Sep 22, 2011

I'm always kind of amazed how long some people stay in grocery clerk jobs. We typically think of these jobs as occupied by teenagers for a summer or a year or two but often people keep these jobs for much longer.

I have lived in my neighborhood and gone to the same grocery store for almost a decade. There are a few stock clerks and people at the register who have worked there the entire time. Honestly I kind of like their commitment to the store. It makes me feel like it must be a good place to work which is not a feeling you always get when you go shopping somewhere.

By gravois — On Sep 22, 2011

A friend of mine worked as a grocery clerk for a large chain here in St Louis. He ended up quitting after only a few months because he was so grossed by the way that they treated food.

Today's grocery stores are really not that different than restaurants. Most of them have huge kitchens where they prepare everything from donuts to rotisserie chicken to soups and pastas.

My friend said that after watching all the food they cooked on a daily basis he could barely eat his appetite was so shot. To this day he refuses to shop at that chain. So I guess there can be unintended consequences to being a grocery clerk. You might end up hating food.

By sunshined — On Sep 21, 2011

When my son turned 15 was able to begin working at one of the local grocery stores as a clerk. This local business has been around for many years, and this was the ideal job for him when he was still in school.

Most of his responsibilities were sacking the customers groceries and taking them out to their car for them. This store has offered this service since they opened, and I know it is one reason they stay busy and have so many loyal customers.

Most of their grocery clerks are very friendly and polite and this makes people continue to shop at their store.

Although the specific duties of being a grocery clerk are not hard, they learn ways to interact with people and establish a work ethic that will help them in future jobs.

By myharley — On Sep 21, 2011

One of the first jobs for many of the teenagers in our community is working as a grocery clerk. This is a good part time job for many students and a valuable experience for them as a first job.

Most of them are flexible with their hours giving them the opportunity to balance school activities and work.

The only time I have been frustrated by this is when they do a lot of personal talking among themselves. There have been a few times when I have checked out that two employees will be talking to each other and barely even acknowledge the customer.

I know that store management does not promote this, but I have seen many times when the grocery clerks get away with it.

By strawCake — On Sep 20, 2011

@starrynight - I think it's nice the one store pays their clerks a decent wage. So many companies don't seem to understand that if you make your employees happy, your customers will be happy too!

A job as a grocery clerk actually has some room for advancement, which most people are surprised by. I have a friend who ended up managing a grocery store who started out as a "lowly" grocery clerk. He likes his job and he makes a pretty decent wage doing it! And, he never went to college either.

By starrynight — On Sep 20, 2011

I think the grocery clerks really make or break a grocery store. There's a few grocery stores near my apartment, so I have a ton of choices as to where I want to shop. And the prices aren't vastly different either!

So it pretty much comes down to the shopping experience. The grocery clerks at one of my local stores are extremely polite and friendly. They really do a great job, and I suspect it's because they are actually paid a decent salary. In contrast, the one of my other local stores seems to always hire rude and lazy grocery clerks.

Guess what store I choose to shop at?

By manykitties2 — On Sep 19, 2011

Make sure you read the grocery clerk job description before you sign up for the position. Sometimes stores will want you to be able to life up to 50 pounds repeatedly. I didn't really figure that would be an issue, as I don't usually see people buying anything that heavy when I go shopping.

Unfortunately, lifting 50 pounds applied in the winter when we had to help people load bags of salt into their vehicles. I swear I nearly put my back out working as a grocery clerk. It can be a really tough job if you aren't physically fit. If you aren't sure how much you can lift, you may want to try for a cashier position.

By letshearit — On Sep 19, 2011

Finding grocery clerk jobs is pretty easy, as most grocery stores have postings right in store. The grocery clerk salary isn't great, and usually pays minimum wage, but it can be a really great after school job for teenagers.

When I was in high school I worked as a grocery clerk and enjoyed the customer service aspect of the job. I was also pretty good at bagging groceries. It can be quite a challenge to make everything fit in a small space.

I have to say that for a first job experience you could certainly do worse than a grocery clerk. Plus, you can occasionally get a free grocery or two, depending on your store's policy.

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